By Josh Beavers
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and one local survivor is doing her part to spread the word on early detection.
Melisa Hefner Rudd walked from Sarepta to Springhill last weekend to raise awareness. She was diagnosed in December 2019 with stage two, triple negative breast cancer. She underwent 16 chemo treatments, three surgeries with one to go, and 35 radiation treatments.
She has one simple message – early detection saves lives.
“It is estimated that 670 people will die this year in the state of Louisiana from a disease that when caught in the early stages has a 99% cure rate,” she told The Journal. “It is extremely important to put a face with cancer survival so that people can see that a mammogram, which takes less than 30 minutes, can give you the next 50 years of your life. Take that time and see your daughter get married and your son graduate high school and live life to its fullest with your spouse.”
Rudd and husband Michael are parents to four children. She says it is vital for people to understand that it is “better to be the girl that has cancer than the girl that cancer has.”
Rudd has created Fight with Faith, Inc. which is a nonprofit to help cancer patients and others. The primary goal is to help those diagnosed with cancer in Louisiana prepare their will, power of attorney and living will at no cost to them.
“I have been a notary since 2008 and as a notary in Louisiana you can prepare all of these documents,” she told us. “I have also been a paralegal for a total of 8 years in the past and have had ample experience in preparing these documents.”
She said she prayed for the longest about “why God allowed me to start this journey and be able to be on the survivor’s side.”
“One night it just hit me,” she said. “These documents are so expensive and someone worrying about survival shouldn’t have to pay to insure that their affairs are in order.”
Rudd is also sponsoring Christmas without Cancer for five families in north Louisiana who are currently dealing with cancer.
“I just don’t feel like a child should miss the excitement of Christmas because mom or dad has this ugly disease,” she said.
Rudd said Fight with Faith can be found on Facebook. Her personal Facebook page also has information.
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